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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
December 23, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer -- Invitation to Prayer
Christmas Greetings!
A Menno Minute
One Good Thing
Camp Valaqua Rentals
Update on Calgary Chin Christian Church

AND MORE from our wider faith communities
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, as I attempt to dress for the changing weather,
may I also be willing to adapt to, and even embrace, whatever you have in store for me.

Please also remember in your prayers those in our congregations for whom Covid-19 is much more than a daily statistic.
Pray for renewed health for those who are ill and comfort for those who are grieving.
Our commitment to
Daily Communal Prayer continues.

New participants are always welcome! 
Warm Christmas Greetings from the congregations of
Mennonite Church Alberta

Click the photo to see the video!


A Menno MInute 
Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MCA Executive Minister

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. --Isaiah 61: 1-2a

This familiar Advent passage is filled with encouraging promises made real in the birth of Jesus. Given all the troubles the year 2020 has brought, this Christmas we may be able to relate to these images more than ever. Many of us are mourning as the losses pile up— people close to us who have died; jobs lost; events and celebrations cancelled; separation from loved ones during a special time of year. Some of us may feel like captives in our own homes. I’m sure all of us feel the deep need for “good news” and restoration.

Given this context we may be happy to simply turn the calendar page, celebrate the roll-out of a vaccine, and wait for the pandemic to end. We yearn for the day we can once again come together as family, as friends, and as congregations. Yet if a “return to what was” is all we yearn for, I wonder if we may miss the full potential in God’s promise of “good news”? I wonder if we may miss how Isaiah’s words challenge the status quo? And I wonder if it may keep us from grappling with what we might need to address or change in order to more fully be the bearers of God’s “good news” to others? 

I grew up in Hamilton in a house built in 1892. When we first moved in, our front door was a bright, turquoise colour. It had been painted over and over in thick glossy layers. It also had this odd knocker that made a “thud” sound that could hardly be heard when someone came to the door. My parents decided there must be some beauty hidden under all that paint. I remember them taking down the door and pouring caustic chemicals on it. They worked on it for days, digging at the paint with scrapers, chisels, and sandpaper to reveal the rich wood grain. It looked amazing! There also was a surprise. When the paint was stripped off the knocker, it turned out it was actually a bell. When it rang you could now hear it throughout the house!

But to fully restore the door it took more than just stripping off the old. There were cracks to be filled, and holes to be patched so the door would hold together. Updated weather stripping meant it kept out the cold better than it ever had before. 

Isaiah’s words of “good news” and restoration asks what layers in ourselves, in our congregations, and in our world need to be stripped away so that we can fully receive the promise God intends. Are we ready to be surprised by how God’s restoration may transform us? Are we ready to be made new? How might we more fully align our hopes and yearnings with those of God in this the year of the Lord’s favour?

This Christmas as we celebrate the arrival of Christ’s presence, may we look toward a future that not only seeks the restoration of the best of what was, but also embraces the fullness of God’s vision of healing and hope for the world. May we seek ways to live into that vision in ways that reflect “good news” proclaimed for all. 

One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing. 

My One Good Thing was that the shortest day of the year was followed by a big dump of snow. After clearing the bird feeders, we enjoyed another cup of coffee.

The best Good Thing was the magical transformation of our farm yard into a winter wonderland!   Kate Janzen, Foothills Mennonite
           
                                                                                                                       (photo by Bob Janzen)

Itching to get out of the city for the weekend? A night?
Or maybe you want to do school with your kids in nature for the week.

Rental options and inquiries at www.campvalaqua.com/rentals

We're renting individual units to members of the same household.
No shared space due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

 Just 1 hour NW of Calgary. Starting at $50/night.
Get access to:
- Outdoor firepits
- Walking trails
- Cross country skis and trails (weather permitting)
- BBQ
And of course, NATURE'S BEAUTY ❄️

Calgary Chin Church has flooring and chairs!
Thank you to First Mennonite Calgary and all who contributed to their Move-in-by-Christmas campaign!

This summer the Calgary Chin Christian Church purchased their first building. They are 95% finished the renovations with just final touches -- baseboards, fire extinguishers etc. to be completed. Inspections begin next week. They know they have to be completely out of their current space by January 17 and are hopeful they will meet that deadline.

More details to come re their financial needs next week. 
Donations are still welcome. 
Please visit mcab.ca/giving to donate or mail to Box 1839, Pincher Creek, AB   T0K 1W0  specifying your gift to help with the Chin Church renovations. 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Bill C-15: Resources for Understanding the UNDRIP Act 

After years of Indigenous-led advocacy, the Government of Canada tabled federal legislation on Dec. 3, 2020, to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This is significant. But what does it mean? The following is an introductory list of resources that can help communities understand what Bill C-15 is, and the diverse conversations that surround it. See www.commonword.ca/go/2217.   

International Witness
 

Information regarding the 
International Witness Support Networks
has been shared with your congregation.
See also



 

Witness workers isolated from family back home 

As many of us here in Canada celebrate Christmas distanced from family, pray for International Witness workers and their families as they celebrate, while also distanced. Several of the workers have given up scheduled trips back to Canada to see family in the last year in order to keep working in their country of ministry. Pray that we all experience God’s promise of Emmanuel. 

Prayer for church and leaders in Ethiopia 

Please continue to pray for the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia. Pray for unity within the Meserete Kristos Church that includes all ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Pray for safety for the Eritrean refugees in camps in that area. Pray that God’s peace will reign and that leaders will be given wisdom to act for the good of all.   

Bethlehem hard hit by absence of tourism during pandemic 

As we sing and read about Bethlehem this season, pray for the ministry of Bethlehem Bible College. Pray for the people of Bethlehem, hard hit by the absence of tourism in this time of COVID-19. Pray that once again the message of peace will be proclaimed across the hills. 

UPDATED: Mennonite Church Canada congregations donate $40,000 to Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 relief fund     

Since the spring, our nationwide community of faith we has raised over $40,000 for 
MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund to help our sister churches around the world who struggle to meet basic needs due to pandemic-response measures in their countries.  Of this total, members of Mennonite Church Alberta have contributed approximately $12,000.  
We reached 80 per cent of our goal to match Mennonite Church Canada’s initial donation of $50,000 in the spring. Thanks to everyone for helping to build up our global body of believers. 

Together in Worship launches in collaboration with CommonWord 

Together in Worship, at www.togetherinworship.net, is an online, curated collection of free and downloadable Anabaptist worship resources. It’s also a place where contributors can submit their own resources to be shared by the wider Anabaptist and ecumenical community. Read full story here.    Link also under Congregational Resources on the MCA website 

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Last-minute gift idea 

A flexible gift for your avid reader, student and loved one.  Gift cards can be redeemed in-store or remotely (by phone) and used toward any purchase – merchandise, food, book or textbook -  www.commonword.ca/go/2204 

Epiphany resources 

Resources for the season between Christmas and Lent – www.commonword.ca/go/2212 

Voices Together 

Buy individual copies/small orders of the hymnal pew edition, Worship Leader’s edition, Accompaniment edition, and Audio recordings from CommonWord – www.commonword.ca/go/2199.  Place congregational bulk orders and digital orders from MennoMedia.   

Together in Worship launched 

Free digital Anabaptist worship resources – www.togetherinworship.net.  All resources also available at www.commonword.ca. See press release – www.commonword.ca/go/2218 and Mennonite Church Canada’s story – www.commonword.ca/go/2219 

Free book! 

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation (Bill C-15) to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  To educate and raise support Mennonite Church Canada is offering this study for free – www.commonword.ca/go/2207 

 

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for up-to-date Covid-19 information as it impacts our worshiping together.

Have a story to tell? Feedback on the MCA Communiqué?
Email communications@mcab.ca
MCA Calendar

March 20/21, 2021                           Annual Delegate Sessions -- via ZOOM
     
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